Kent closes in on £1m of investment to improve grass pitches
Since early 2020, the Kent FA have been activating projects with the Football Foundation and Grounds Management Association to improve the quality of grass pitches across the county.
So far, a total of 36 improvement projects have been activated, which cover 193 grass pitches, and the Football Foundation has committed to investing £960,664 into these pitches over a six-year period.
Recipients of investment so far this season are:
- Headcorn FC - £3,840 for five pitches at Headcorn Football Club
- Ide Hill FC - £40,960 for eight pitches at Sundridge Recreation Ground
- Baypoint Sports CIC - £44,800 for eight pitches at Baypoint Leisure Centre
- Langton Green CSA - £56,320 for six pitches at Langton Green Recreation Ground
- Kings Hill FC - £66,560 for nine pitches at Kings Hill Sports Park
The investment aims to raise the pitch quality to a good standard or above and keep it there. Pitch quality is measured using the Football Foundation’s innovative PitchPower app. Clubs, leagues or educational establishments can undertake the assessment easily themselves. All that is required is a spade, tape measure and a smartphone and the app, which can be accessed at www.pitchpower.org.uk Once the assessment has happened, the Grounds Management Association will return a detailed bespoke report on the pitch, including in-depth guidance on actions that need to be taken to improve the pitch quality.
Once the PitchPower report has arrived, Grass Pitch Maintenance Funding can be applied for from the Football Foundation. Applicants can apply for Enhance Grass Pitch Maintenance Funding for pitches rated as poor or basic. Depending on pitch size, the value ranges between £1,920 to £3,200 per pitch. On average, pitches move from ‘poor’ or ‘basic’ to ‘good’ within 18 months of this investment.
For pitches already rated at ‘good’ or above, applicants can still apply for funding in the form of the Sustain Grass Pitch Maintenance Funding to support keeping the pitches at the level they are. This ranges between £384 and £960, depending on pitch size.
The funding is released over a six-year period but tapered every two years by a third, so for a single 11v11 pitch initially rated as basic, an applicant could expect to get £3,200 per year for years one and two, £2,133 per year for years three and four and then £1,067 per year for years five and six, which is a total Football Foundation grant of £12,800. This funding can be spent on contractor works, small equipment and materials such as seeds or fertiliser.
For support on improving your grass pitches, please get in touch with Aidan Ainsley, Facility and Investment Lead, at Aidan.Ainsley@KentFA.com